Please select your home edition
Doyle Sails 2020 - Cruising Confidence 728x90 TOP

Volvo Ocean Race: Four times winner talks the next edition

by Doyle Sails 9 Jul 2018 02:47 PDT 9 July 2018
Stu Bannatyne trimming in light winds, he finds it as stressful to sail in light wind than strong winds. Leg 9, from Newport to Cardiff, day 07 on board Dongfeng. 26 May, . © Jeremie Lecaudey / Volvo Ocean Race

Doyle Sails is incredibly proud that a core member of their Grand Prix Sales and Projects Support Team, Stu Bannatyne, and the Dongfeng Race Team have just won the 2017/2018 Volvo Ocean Race (VOR).

The ultimate round-the-world yacht race is known as one of the industry’s most challenging and Bannatyne’s involvement is credit to his reputation as one of the world’s most respected and experienced offshore sailors. An eight-time veteran of the race, with four wins to date, Bannatyne has officially earned the title of the most successful Volvo Ocean Race sailor in history.

“Those last few hours of the race were the best and made the whole campaign worthwhile,” says Bannatyne with a wide smile. A fair statement considering the Dongfeng amazed everyone with their change of course on that last leg to win the VOR’s closest race ever. “It was all a part of our pre-race plan with the onshore navigation support of Marcel van Triest [well-known meteorologist who also worked with 2014/2015 VOR winners Abu Dhabi] if the weather cooperated we knew it would work out.”

With a background in engineering coupled with his extensive on-the-water experience, Bannatyne has been an invaluable addition to Doyle’s team and Grand Prix customers. Bannatyne’s insight into the demands of offshore sailing directly translates back into Doyle’s product development.

“I’m excited to be back at Doyle and continuing on with all the new developments we’ve been working on,” says Bannatyne after his first day back at Doyle Sails Headquarters in Auckland, New Zealand. “We’re making major leaps in our sail technology and I’m looking forward to sharing the progress with our customers.”

In fact, many of Doyle’s innovations (including the newly successful Cable-less Code 0) from a conceptual standpoint, come from their in-house team of Grand Prix sailors. In addition to Bannatyne, many of the Doyle team have had historic involvement with the VOR including Head of Design, Richard Bouzaid winning on Yamaha in the 1993/1994 edition, Sales Rep and Designer Justin Ferris with four VOR campaigns, most recently on AkzoNobel in 2017/2018 race, and CEO Mike Sanderson, a two-time winner of the race and recipient of the ISAF World Sailor of the Year Award following a win in 2005/2006 on ABN Amro I, when he became the youngest skipper to ever win the VOR.

This kind of world-class expertise will be pivotal in the next edition of the VOR which is scheduled to commence in 2021 – two years shy of its 50th anniversary. The new management team of Richard Brisius, Johan Salen and Jan Litborn have announced future IMOCA teams will be responsible for commissioning and owning their boats. While the decision may be a difficult transition for some it will be a welcoming change for others.

The idea that sailors can now be hands-on involved from concept to competition opens the door for exciting possibilities. Getting the best integration between all major facets of the campaign including sails, rigs, boat design, crew selection and rating optimisation is likely to give the teams that speed edge. This holistic approach is where the Doyle team anticipate making the winning difference.

"The return to a development class signals an exciting opportunity once again for the sailors and designers to play a significant role in defining the performance of the boats. This race will provide several avenues available for the sailors to have considerable input into the design with only masts and keels as one design components. The sail designs, hull, deck layouts and foils are all areas that will see intense scrutiny and development. It will make for some very exciting and interesting times!" Bannatyne says.

Building high-performing sails is just one part of it, as the Doyle team knows, having been involved in the past three Vendee Globe’s with Alex Thomson and IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss. The R&D and extensive on-the-water testing have given Doyle’s team of designers and engineers an advantage in this event which they can contribute to the Hugo Boss campaign. Thompson has repeatedly paid tribute to his sail inventory, citing it as key influence to his performance during the Vendee Globe circumnavigation and one of his main advantages over the other competitors. “Aside from our foils the one place where we are completely different to the other IMOCA 60’s is our sails, which obviously play a huge part in this race,” praised Thompson.

We look forward to seeing the story unfold! Watch this space...

Related Articles

Geoff Boettcher's success with SMB and Doyle.
South Australia's Geoff Boettcher's sailing obsession spans close to six decades. Geoff Boettcher is a legend, not only to those that know him personally but amongst the South Australian yachting community, dedicating a large part of his time to the sport he loves. Posted on 19 Jul
Doyle Sails Solent continues to strengthen
Will Alloway and Nicholas ‘Nin' O'Leary strengthening the UK based Doyle team Doyle Sails Solent is no stranger to legendary sailors joining their team and 2020 shows no sign of slowing down with Will Alloway and Nicholas ‘Nin' O'Leary strengthening the UK based team. Posted on 18 Jul
Doyle Sails News - July/August 2020 Review
Doyle Sails - We're all about sailing, innovation and people Doyle Sails International's new extension to our state of the art Stratis facility in Auckland, New Zealand is now operational. Read about Sea Eagle - an 81m, state of the art three-masted sensation powered by Doyle Sails. Posted on 9 Jul
Doyle Sails News - May/June 2020 Review
Doyle Sails News - May/June 2020: Racing and Cruising News Doyle Sails are pleased to advise that all worldwide facilities are open and ready to support you, and your team, towards getting back on the water as soon as it is safe to do so. Meanwhile here's the latest news from the Doyle Sail team. Posted on 6 May
Doyle Sails: Trim like a champion in the lockdown
With everyone being encouraged #stayhome you too can keep your sail trimming finely honed With everyone being encouraged #stayhome you too can keep your sail trimming finely honed like Doyle Sails specialist Willem van Waay Posted on 5 Apr
Doyle Sails News - March/April 2020 Review
Doyle Sails News - March/April 2020 Review covering all the latest updates on racing and cruising Doyle Sails News - March/April 2020 Review looking at the Hugo Boss campaigns, more on Doyle's Structured Luff technology, Cruising Code sails, visit Doyle Sails Palma and an update from the Superyacht Challenge Antigua and more. Posted on 31 Mar
Doyle Sails News - December/January 2020 Review
Doyle Sails newsletter for December 2019/January 2020 - Sydney Hobart; Structured Luffs and more Doyle Sails newsletter for December 2019/January 2020 including a look at Structured Luff technology; Sydney Hobart interviews with Mike Sanderson and Stu Bannatyne; Winners Circle; Bay of Islands Race Week; Festival of sails: Doyle Sails power Sea Eagle Posted on 2 Feb
Doyle Sails powered yachts first to Hobart
Both Comanche and InfoTrack carry complete Doyle Sails Cableless and Structured Luff inventories Both Comanche and InfoTrack carry complete Doyle Sails Cableless and Structured Luff inventories and have seen considerable gains in performance after moving to this technology in recent years. Posted on 16 Jan
Doyle Sails News - October/November 2019 Review
Doyle Sails News - OctoberNovember 2019: Racing and Cruising News Doyle Sails News - October/November 2019 including - Winner's Circle - Re-cap of all the latest victories from Doyle-powered yachts; Structured Luff Technology; Doyle Sails wins 'Best Medium Business at NZIBA Posted on 2 Dec 2019
Superyacht guru joins Doyle Sails Palma
Doyle Sails group continues to expand and strengthen with the appointment of Scott Zebny The Doyle Sails group continues to expand and strengthen with the exciting appointment of highly regarded superyacht expert Scott Zebny as Global Superyacht Sales Manager and Partner in Doyle Sails Palma. Posted on 16 Oct 2019
Doyle Sails 2020 - Cruising Confidence 728x90 BOTTOMDoyle Sails 2020 - Redefining Boundaries 728x90 BOTTOMDoyle Sails 2020 - Pure Brilliance 728x90 BOTTOM